It struck me how many people look at the immense gathering and concentration of power and prestige at Davos (the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum) and see only a perceived reality of private jets, limousines, days of leisure, and skiing. The reality is that for the 2,500 or so leaders from government, the private sector, community and faith that attend, there is very little leisure going on, and I for one did not have a chance to even think about skiing – not because I did not want to, but because I was exhausted, and literally had no time (last year I think I had a 2 hour slot available, in a week’s time, where I took a skiing lesson and promptly rolled down several mountain sides).
The adventure starts with your arrival in Zurich, Switzerland (which probably meant you connected once or twice on airlines to get this far from the states). From there, you either take a bus or van or car for a 2-3 hour drive to Davos, or if the Forum transportation is not yet running, you take a bus and three trains (this is after the more than 12 hours of airline travel mind you to get there).
When you are in Davos, you are simply overwhelmed, from the time you got there to the time you leave. A typical day starts at 7am with breakfast and a workout if you are sane, and one of the first Forum breakfast work sessions if you are not. It should be noted that for those not staying in the quaint little ski town of Davos, which does not have enough occupancy for attendees, you stay in Klosters down the hill, which means a 30 minute van ride up and back, and another 20-30 minutes waiting for the van in 20 degree weather. The day typically ends around 10pm for early to bed types, and 1-2am for those who attend or are featured speakers at something the Forum calls "Night Caps," which are serious sessions and discussions over dinner with some of the world’s preeminent leaders. Much of the business and relationship development at Davos happens in these evening sessions, so they are really not items to miss if you understand the real value of Davos.
I will Blog in a few days about what it is like to be there and some of the specifics of my involvement this year, but the fact that I slept 25 hours straight this week, upon my return from Davos and DC, should send a message to those wishing they were there. Love, is work, whether it be Davos or inner city Detroit.
Onward with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant